Guerrero Journalist Jailed for Exposing Sembrando Vida Scam
By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
The ever-increasing Mexican government’s assault on journalists and freedom of the press moved one step closer to all-out censorship over the weekend when Guerrero journalist Bertín Chino González was arrested Thursday, April 13, after posting a video showing that several of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) much-touted Sembrando Vida reforestation program’s nurseries had no trees or saplings in them.
Chino González, who heads the Internet news web page Prensa del Sur, was arrested by local police officers at his home in San Luis Acatlán, Guerrero.
The officers said that they had been ordered to detain him by the town’s municipal commissioner, Ángel Morales Agustín, who later confirmed their statements.
“They put me in a van and locked me up in jail, and the commissioner is holding an assembly with the people of the town (of Horcasitas) to determine the punishment that is going to be applied to me,” Chino González reported to the national daily Reforma said in a telephone interview the following day.
Chino González said that the videos were shot at three separate Sembrando Vida nurseries in the Guerrero towns of Horcasitas, Atlamajalcingo and Olinalá, providing clear visual evidence that no trees were being planted in those areas.
“The only thing I did was publicize what is happening in the nurseries, just as I have publicized information about Sembrando Vida nurseries in the past, showing that no plantings were taking place,” said Chino González.
After Chino González’s plight was published in Reforma and other national media picked up the story, the Guerrero journalist was released from prison on Saturday, April 15, but only after he deleted the videos.
Chino González said that both he and his wife were also forced to sign a document promising not to repost the videos because they were “offensive” to members of the Horcasitas community, who were apparently receiving funding for the nurseries.
The official San Luis Acatlán police report stated that “Mr. Bertín Chino González, a journalist from the newspaper Prensa del Sur, was arrested for uploading to social networks images showing that the Sembrando Vida groups led by President López Obrador are not working throughout Guerrero, especially in Horcasitas, Atlamajalcingo and Olinalá.”
So much for freedom of the press.